SASW is focusing on how to ensure our support to members is relevant to them, whatever their identity or background. We aim to develop structures which confront all forms of discrimination and reflect our commitment to the core values of social work.

Anti-Racism 

In July 2021, we launched our report, "Racism in Scottish Social Work: a 2021 snapshot." This provides evidence that:

  • Racism exists within social work in Scotland, Racism is experienced in both employment and education settings, from colleagues, managers and people who use services
  • The impact of racism on social workers from BAME backgrounds is significant
  • When racism is reported it is rarely dealt with in a satisfactory way
  • Racism experienced within social work is harmful, both to individuals and to the profession

Read it, here. 

We are working closely with our Anti-Racism Advisory Group (ARAG) as we take action to address the concerns raised in the report and in April 2022 published our Anti-Racism Action Plan for the coming year. You can read the SASW Anti-Racism Action Plan here. This was also reported in May 2022 in an article by Social Work Today, which you can read here

In 2021 we held a roundtable to explore how to challenge racism in social work, and we presented on the findings of our report to a range of people including Chief Social Work Officers, leaders at the Social Work Scotland Conference, and the HEI Anti-Racism Network. In October, as part of Black History Month, we co-hosted an event with the University of Edinburgh and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) celebrating the achievements of social workers from minoritised backgrounds.

In honour of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in March 2021, and as part of the social workers rise against racism campaign, we wrote to Universities and Social Work Employers on the issue of anti-racist social work practice. In the letter we called for anti-racism to be a central and explicit feature in social work education and workplaces. We received responses from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Council, and Angus Council. 

BASW UK Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Leads

We are delighted to be working closely with the two BASW UK EDI Leads. Shantel Thomas is leading on anti-racism in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Narinder Sidhu is leading on LGBTQI+ and Disability. Their expertise will help guide and shape our work around those areas here in Scotland.  

BASW UK Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group

BASW’s EDI Advisory Group is a group of members from across the four nations, who meet together regularly to advise BASW Council on progress with meeting EDI targets. The work we are doing here in Scotland is informed by the views of this group.

We are currently on the look out for new members to represent Scotland in the group. It is important that the voice of Scottish members is included in this important work. If you are interested or would like to find out more information, please contact Sarah McMillan sarah.mcmillan@basw.co.uk

At the 2020 BASW UK AGM members voted in favour of several motions that relate to challenging all forms of discrimination, including structural racism, and promoting justice and equality. 

Minimum standards for diversity within BASW Council were set in 2020 and were exceeded in 2021. These include ensuring a minimum level of representation among Council members from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, from those identifying as female, from members currently in direct social work practice, and from those aged 35 and under.

"Let's Talk Social Work" Podcast Series

Challenging Antisemitism in all its forms - Let's Talk Social Work | Acast

Anti-Racist Allyship - Let's Talk Social Work | Acast

Guest Blogs

SASW is pleased to host a guest blog by Renite Gosal, on our EDI hub.

In her blog Renite discusses language used to describe Ukrainian refugees. The media is filled with reports of the devastation in Ukraine. We are all rightly appalled at the harm brought about by the Russian invasion, and at the plight of the millions of people fleeing to safety. Does reporting of this crisis differ from how other humanitarian tragedies around the world are broadcast? 

Renite highlights how press reporting reflects a difference in the value society places on people from different backgrounds. This is an issue which has been reported elsewhere.[1] There have also been accusations of double standards when it comes to the willingness of some European countries to accept Ukrainian refugees, when they have previously been reluctant to welcome those from Syria or Afghanistan,[2] and of discriminatory treatment of those of non-European descent who are seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine.[3]

The prejudices explored in the blog are not only apparent in the media. Some of us may have heard them echoed in conversations, from people who would not consider themselves to have racist views. We live and work in structures where racism exists, which means that if we strive to be anti-racist, we must question our own and others’ biases and assumption. We must reflect on how we judge and evaluate others. When we recognise prejudice and call it out, as Renite does, we work towards creating a fairer and more equal society.

Useful Resources from around the UK 

My Black History - Black and Proud - Laura, a social worker based in Scotland, reflects on her experiences of racism in practice in this article requested by the Local Authority that she works for. 

LGBTI Manifesto - a joint manifesto from LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and Scottish Trans. Get in touch here to find out more about SASW's work on progressing the Asks, or to get involved yourself. 

Scottish Social Services Council 2021-2025 Equalities Report - SSSC, 

Black, Asian and Minority Ethics Resources - useful reading, guidance and resources - BASW UK. 

BASW's voices for black history month and beyond - BASW UK. 

As Social workers, we must do more than just stand in solidarity with black people - The Guardian.

White voices on white privilege - PSW Online 

How to promote an anti-racist culture in social work - Community Care. 

Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller Social Work - A serious case review; BASW UK.  

Black Lives Matter: A position statement - BASW UK. 

Social work is institutionally racist – here’s how we fix it – Make It Plain (make-it-plain.org)

Humanity must unite lest we can’t breathe… – Social work at The University of Edinburgh

"Proud Roma" by Pablo Vega. The film is a great start to understanding the history and culture of Romani people, including Welsh and English Gypsies who are Romani and descendants of the first Romani people to leave India over a 1000 years ago on the migration into the UK, as well as the rest of the world.

Child Q and Anti-Racist Safegaurding. BASW's Anti-Racism Lead, Shantel Thomas responds to the strip search of a 15-year-old girl by the Metropolitan Police.